Poonam Alaigh Quits as New Jersey Health Chief

New York, March 30 (IANS) New Jersey's Indian American Commissioner of Health and Senior Services has resigned from the cabinet level post after 14 months in office, citing personal reasons.

Alaigh was the second Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet post in New Jersey after Kris Kolluri, former CEO of the state's Schools Development Authority and former Commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Transportation.

Appointed by Republican Governor Chris Christie in January last year, Alaigh announced she will step down April 1 because of a "family emergency."

Alaigh was serving as executive medical director of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield when Christie nominated her to the commissioner's post.

South Asians are part of the state's fastest-growing Asian-American community which comprises 8.2 per cent of New Jersey's nearly nine million population.

"I am passionate about the work and accomplishments we have been able to deliver for the families of New Jersey during this time of unprecedented budget challenges," Alaigh said in a statement. "So, it is with both pride and difficulty that I announce my resignation from the department."

Praising Alaigh's service to the state, Christie said: "Her commitment and passion for the job has been unprecedented, and her stewardship of the department has been world-class through a period of economic difficulty and an increased need among our citizens for quality health-care services."


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